By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 4 (IANS) President Barack Obama says he has to go to India to experience "all that India and its people and its incredible ancient culture have to offer".
Announcing his plans to visit India in early November at a reception hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna at the state department, Obama cited a quote from a European scholar who travelled to India more than a century ago.
"Whatever sphere of the human mind you may select for your special study, whether it be language or religion or mythology or philosophy, whether it be law or customs, primitive art, or science, you have to go to India, because some of the most valuable and instructive material of the history of man are treasured up in India, and India only," he quoted the scholar.
"So I look forward to advancing our partnership, to experiencing all that India and its people and its incredible ancient culture have to offer," Obama said.
"So when it comes to the sphere of our work, building a future of greater prosperity, opportunity and security for our people, there is no doubt; I have to go India.
"But even more, I am proud to go to India, and I look forward to the history that we will make together, progress that will be treasured not just by this generation but by generations to come."
Earlier Krishna said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recalled very warmly his meeting with Obama in April. "He and over one billion citizens of India look forward to welcoming you and your family later this year."
"A very warm and heartfelt welcome awaits you and the family," he said.